National Institute of Mental Health
Presents the experiences of a teenage African American, who relates his views of the System, war, revolution, the Watts community of Los Angeles, the Black Panther Party and the police. The importance of the discussion is the necessity of being one's own self. Director: Richard Wells. Editor: Andrew Stein. Photographer: Robert Grant. Sound: Wendell Handy. Assistant Camera: Clifford Stewart. Production Manager: Edward Kutner. Assistant Production Manager: Gene Kopp. Executive Producer: George Schlosser. Producer: Peter Schnitzler.
Presents the experiences of a teenage black, relating his views of the system, showing his relationship with the church, school, society, drugs and community self-help programs. Tells of war, revolution, Watts, the Black Panthers and the police. Concludes with the idea of being one's self.
Negro youth United States African Americans Teenagers Adolescence
July 5, 2005
All bound for Muu Muu Land
Another, though not listed here, its listed in the credits, of the Social Seminar series, the amazing bunch of films featuring young kids of the 60s and 70s, laying it out for us about their generation, drugs, and culture. Here, we focus on Teddy, a nice black kid who seems to have his head screwed on right, and his dealings with the world around him, which is quite rich, his brother is in Viet Nam, another is in a laughably bad rock group, and all are seriously about to be overcome by their hair. Like all the others in this series,. This is a true snapshot of their culture. The Muu-Muus, the music (the band tries to be SO hard to be the Jackson 5), and their feelings towards the Black Panthers, (there is some footage of a raid on their headquarters here). Again, the filmmakers of this whole series should be commended, and more attention should be focused on this series and deserves to be rediscoverted.
December 10, 2004
A Wonderful Slice of Life
I teach US History to a nearly 100% African-American group of 16 year olds, and I use this movie in class every semester. It provides a very nice window into a world that my kids instantly recognise and relate to, but at the same time, transports them back some thirty-five years to a time that was very different.
This film is very much a snapshot of a specific point of time and a particular place. Young Teddy, a thoughtful and bright young man growing up in the riot-devastated and aggressivly policed Watts section of Los Angeles, reflects on the nature of the world around him as he attempts to find himself. The year before, the leadership of the once-active Black Panther Party in LA had been taken down after a shootout with LAPD SWAT, and the Panthers are now in a state of decline. As signs of success stemming from the civil rights movement begin to appear, younger blacks with a more positive attitude and older, more cynical blacks argue as to whether these changes mean anything significant. Teddy, once swayed by the revolutionary message of Mao's Little Red Book and the posturing of the Panthers, is ini the midst of changing directions to one that requires more patience. One of the things I ask my students to do is tell me what they think that Teddy is doing nowadays. Most of them assume that he is involved in community service of some sort: a teacher, or running a community center, or a neighborhood leader. I personaly would love to know what has become of him in the last three and a half decades. Five stars because this little gem has proven itself as such a useful little artifact in my classroom. It documents urban African-Americans at a critical crossroads, as they assess their new status in American society and as they begin to plot a course for the future.